Certain BMWs will always appreciate and fetch a nice chunk of change for the owners who have the foresight to purchase them. Some of those cars include the very recent BMW 1 Series M Coupe, the BMW 3.0 CSL and the E30 BMW M3. These cars all are worth far more than they were brand new. That must be an excellent feeling, and justification of purchase, knowing that the car you bought could now actually make you money. I digress, however, because there is another car that is appreciating in value and becoming quite popular — the E46 BMW M3 CSL.
Much like the 3.0 CSL, the M3 CSL is a lightweight, stripped out, hardcore version of the standard car. It also gets a power bump to its 3.2 liter straight-six engine, to the tune of 360 hp. That horsepower figure may not sound like a lot by today’s standards, but considering the CSL weighs in at around 3,053 lbs (240 lbs less than the standard M3), it’s more than enough to turn the CSL into a rocket. The CSL is also fitted with BMW’s SMG (sequential manual gearbox) of the time, and while it isn’t the smoothest unit ever made, it allows for lightning quick shifts. This allows the M3 CSL to hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds.
The M3 CSL isn’t just about straight-line speed, however. In fact, the CSL is more about handling and purity of drive than anything else. The car is completely stripped out, with alcantara, single-piece racing seats, an alcantara steering wheel, no radio, no air-conditioning, no sound deadening material underneath the hood and even a cardboard trunk liner. All of this is combined with some high-tech weight savings, such as a carbon fiber roof. Mechanically, the car is lowered on stiffer suspension, fitted with better brakes and has a limited-slip differential. It’s driving dynamics are still raved over today with some people claiming it to be the best driving BMW of all time.
This particular 2004 model is painted in Black Sapphire Metallic, has black leather and alcantara interior and only has 40,154 km (24,950 miles) on the odometer. It’s absolutely gorgeous and easily the cleanest example of a CSL I’ve ever seen. Being that CSLs are built solely to be driven hard, it’s rare to find one so seemingly untouched. Which is probably why it’s fetching a 109,500 Euro ($122,645 US Dollars) price tag. That’s a lot of dough for a 11 year old M3.
However, this M3 CSL is a very special car. It’s a car built for the sole purpose of putting a smile on the driver’s face. The CSL may be uncomfortable to drive in on public roads, due to its absurdly stiff suspension, but it’s well worth it once a bit of smooth twisty road presents itself. Sure, on a hot day you’ll sweat like a hooker in church while sitting in alcantara seats with no air-con, but once some road opens up, roll the windows down and drive fast. Very fast. If the lack of radio seems like an issue for you, just listen to the metallic wail of that straight-six and you’ll forget all about radio. The M3 CSL is a compromised car in the name of performance. But the performance trade off is well worth the compromise. So, if you’ve got the scratch for this gorgeous example of the M3 CSL, buy it and never look back. Plus, who knows, maybe it’ll be worth even more someday.